"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"  

Luke 15:4-6

August 15, 2007


A few days ago during my devotionals, I randomly opened the Bible and began reading. The Bible fell open to Matthew chapter seven. The first couple of verses I read, caused me to stop and consider how I perceive and respond to people. These verses say, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)

In the Amplified Bible these verses read, “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourself. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you deal out to others it will be dealt out again to you.”

Judging or criticizing or condemning others is something that most of us have more than likely done one time or another. We may judge them by their appearance, their family background, something they have done in their past, their lifestyle, etc. At times, we may not give someone a chance due to our perception of what we think they are like.

I have been guilty of labeling others due to what I see or what I think I know about them. On the other hand, I have also had people have the wrong impression or perception of me.

There is a lady whom I have known for years. She is a very attractive, petite woman who never seems to age and always looks like she spent hours on her appearance. It doesn't matter if she is wearing a dress and high heels or is in blue jeans with her hair up in a ponytail, she always looks extremely nice. She told me one time that she thoroughly enjoys dressing up, and wishes she could do so everyday. In the summer, her idea of dressing casual is a cute little sleeveless dress with matching sandals. On the other hand, my idea of casual is shorts, a sleeveless shirt, and flip flops. By all appearances, it would seem as if we had absolutely nothing in common. She is a much classier lady than I am. But after years of acquaintance, I know that she is a very sweet person. You would think by looking at her that she never has a bad day and that she lives the perfect life. I know from listening to her talk, that she is not always in a good mood and has to deal with problems like everyone else. If I had judged her by her appearance and based my perception of her from that, I would never have given her a chance and gotten to know what she was really like.

When I was working as a supervisor in a bank, a young man once came downstairs into the bookkeeping department. From his appearance, he looked like a hoodlum. He had all these piercings, tattoos, and the baggy pants. When the other ladies saw him walk in, they were a little worried that he was going to have an attitude and be difficult to deal with. I intervened and asked if I could help him, and was pleasantly surprised to find that he was one of the most polite, well-mannered young men I had ever dealt with. He showed me a great deal of respect by his words and actions. After I finished helping him, he was very appreciative and shook my hand and thanked me. My first impression of him had been way off base.

Sometimes we get these ideas of what we think certain people are like, and put them in boxes accordingly. If someone is well dressed, we assume that they're prideful and snobbish. If they are dressed in baggy pants, and have tattoos and piercings, we assume they're a trouble maker and rebellious. If someone is dirty and dressed poorly, we think they don't care about anything and live off welfare. If a minister and his wife dress nice and drive a new car, we judge them as being showy. If someone comes from a troubled family where there was an alcoholic parent or abuse, we judge the children according to that situation and say they won't amount to anything. If there is someone who made serious mistakes in their past and ended up spending time in jail or prison, we don't believe that they can reform and change, and refuse to trust them or give them a chance to prove themselves.

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “...for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Sometimes we don't look beyond what our eyes see, and get to know what is in a person's heart. We perceive certain types of people being a certain way, and don't ever give them a chance, or take time to get to know what they are really like. But God looks beyond the outside. He looks beyond the situation or circumstance. He looks beyond a person's upbringing or past. God looks at what is in the heart. Yes, He sees the evil and corruption that is in the hearts of some individuals. But He also looks and sees the goodness and love that so many people have within them. He sees the hurt, pain, and fear they are hiding inside them. God knows the character of each person.

God looks beyond what can be seen with the eye, and looks deeper into the heart. Getting to know someone's heart is not something that is impossible to do. By spending time to really talk to someone in depth, you can find out from their conversation what their character is like. But by jumping to conclusions, you may misjudge someone and can even cause them hurt.

I went to a small school. There were only thirty-four in my graduating class, so we knew everyone in high school. I was very shy and was not popular when I was in school. I had a few close friends, and there were some other students with whom I went to school with from Kindergarten through my senior year, that treated me very well. But there were a few individual's who moved in during my high school years who weren't very nice to me. I never had a car, so had to ride the bus to school every day until I graduated. I was always overweight. My dad didn't allow me to wear jeans, so I had to wear a dress everyday to school. I was very quiet and reserved. There were those who didn't know me well, and criticized and judged me by their standards.

When I was at school things were fine, but I absolutely hated riding the bus. The high school students were supposed to sit in the back. I was the last one to get on the bus in the mornings, so of course all the seats were taken. There were many mornings when someone would be sitting alone and they would either put their feet in the seat so I couldn't sit with them, or would sit on the end of the seat and not let me in. Some mornings, the driver would have to tell them to scoot over and let me sit down. Other days, the bus driver would take pity of me and tell me to go ahead and sit up front with the younger kids. There were times when I would get on the bus and see a couple of students get up and change seats so they would sit together and leave an empty seat for me to sit alone. It was very embarrassing and humiliating for me. Those kids never took the time to get to know me or anything about me. They judged me by what they saw and what they thought I was like. I will never forget those years and what it felt like to be rejected by a few of my peers.

There are times when our words and actions, or the lack thereof, can cause hurt. It's not always that we say or do something that causes people to feel rejected or judged. It may be what we don't say or do that makes them feel that way. It may be that we snub them or make them feel unaccepted. We may do it unintentionally, at times.

When someone messes up their life and has paid or is paying for their mistakes, they most likely are already dealing with condemnation and guilt. They know the pain and embarrassment they caused their family, and may wonder if they will be welcomed and accepted back, or if their family will reject them and want nothing to do with them. They don't need the constant reminders of what they did wrong. Many times they don't feel worthy of acceptance or forgiveness. They need reassurance of being welcomed back into the family and the church. They don't need fingers pointed at them in accusation. I truly believe that most times reoccurring sins are committed because the individual feels that no one will ever accept or love them again. They believe that everyone expects them to fail. Not only are they dealing with their own condemnation and guilt, but they are living under the condemnation and guilt those around them are putting upon them. It is easy to condemn someone in whose shoes we have never walked. The greater task that Jesus instructs us to do, is to forgive and love. We need to learn how to hate the sin without hating the sinner.

We also need to be careful to not put people on pedestals, and in our minds make them into someone they're not. We can do this to people we greatly respect and admire such as a minister, fellow church member, family member, leader in the community, etc.

Several years ago, I was very active in my home church. I played piano, sang, was the church secretary, taught Sunday School, and occasionally sang or spoke at various churches. There were a couple of women within my church who apparently admired and respected me, but they set me up in their minds as being this super spiritual being, that I couldn't live up to. I didn't ask to be put up on a pedestal and had no desire to be there. I would be joking or teasing with someone (in a good, clean, humorous way) and one of these women would look at me in shock and say, “I can't believe you said that!” The person I actually made the comment to would laugh and think it was funny, but one of these women would overhear me and be offended. Other times I would just make a comment about something in particular, and they would say that they couldn't believe I'd say such a thing. Or I would do something that they themselves would do, but they would be offended when I did it. I would think back and wonder what I had said or done that was so offensive. I didn't feel bad or convicted over any of my words or actions, and honestly couldn't figure out why they consider it so surprising or shocking. God wasn't convicting me or showing me that I had erred, but the offended person would make me feel guilty and condemned, like I had done something bad. I soon realized that I couldn't rely on people's judgment of me, but had to do my best and let God, and God alone, be my judge. Otherwise, I was going to end up spending my life trying to please people and let them dictate what I should and shouldn't say or do. I knew that it was an impossible task to please all people at all times. My task was to please God.

When someone is placed on a pedestal in your mind, they are eventually going to say or do something that you will be offended or surprised by. You will be observing them so closely, that something will either be misconstrued by you and you will be hurt, or you will eventually realize that they are human and capable of error, and feel let down.

At times, we may even build up in our minds of what we think certain families are like. We get this image of them built up in our minds and imagine what they must be like. Then when we find out that our expectation of what we have created in our minds doesn't match the true picture, we are disappointed and let down.

For example, my family is full of ministers. Three out of four brothers-in-law pastor churches. Five out of thirteen of my nephews are ministers. I have heard a few people make observances about what they think our family is like. They seem to have this perception that when we get together we all sit in a circle, holding hands, singing hymns and quoting scripture (maybe not quite that literally). They have this idea that we are all very holy and spiritual at family gatherings. Some would be surprise by what we are really like when we all get together. We're just a normal family! My sisters and I all sit around visiting and talking from the time we get there until the time we leave. My brothers-in-law are messing around outside and talking hunting, fishing, and whatever else men talk about. My nieces and nephews are riding four-wheelers and playing games or taking walks or whatever they find to do. Sometimes we adults even make the kids let us have a turn at riding the four-wheelers. My sisters and I all cook and bring food when we get together, so we do lots of eating. We have prayed about special needs occasionally when we've been together, but that's not what we spend all of our time doing. We laugh a lot and are a loud and noisy bunch of people.

Whatever the situation, from the serious to the more light hearted, God did not place us in the position to judge and criticize others. Sometimes we may need to take the time to get to know someone in order to get beyond what we think we see or know. Just as none of us like or enjoy being criticized, condemned, or judged for our past mistakes, family situations, appearance, decisions, etc., we should give that same consideration to others.

Lastly, being non-judgmental does not mean that we take everyone at face value and believe everything that they say. The Bible does tell us to test the spirit, whether they be good or bad. It is important for us to be sensitive to those who represent themselves falsely or those who would influence us negatively. There are con artist who take advantage of others and use people for their own gain. There are also those who misrepresent God and preach doctrine that is not biblical. God gives us wisdom and common sense, and it's up to us to utilize those gifts.


It's easy to judge people from what we observe. A teen with a lot of piercings and tattoos was probably very rebellious. It's no stretch to expect them to stay rebellious. But, as Loretta found out, the young man was very courteous. It's nice to see that those misconceptions are misconceptions. It feels great to see those judgments proved wrong. But it isn't easy for everyone. Sometimes, it's hard to let a negative judgment go. Loretta could have assumed the young man was being courteous against his nature for some ulterior motive.

The opposite can be true, too. When certain televangelists failed so publicly, many people were glad. There is something satisfying in seeing that someone so respected is human after all. And it's easy to think they were “so high and mighty” and that it's good to see them put in their place. Isn't that horrible? That we would have to see others torn down so we could feel better about ourselves?


I have used both of these recipes for chicken and rice casserole, and they are both very good. The two things that I do different; I usually always cook it in the crockpot instead of the oven and I use boneless chicken breast. For myself, I find that easier, but either way is fine.

Chicken and Rice Casserole #1

1 chicken, cut up

1 can water

1 stick butter

1 cup Cheddar Cheese

1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

1 cup bread crumbs

1 can mushroom or chicken soup

1 cup rice

Melt butter and mix in bread crumbs. Spray bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Pour uncooked rice over bottom of baking dish. Lay chicken pieces on top of the rice. Sprinkle with dry soup mix. Mix the soup and water together and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle with cheese, and then bread crumb and butter mixture. Seal with foil. Bake at 350 for 2 hours or at 300 for 3 hours.

Chicken and Rice Casserole #2

1 chicken, cut up

1 can celery soup

1 jar Cheez Whiz

1 cup uncooked rice

1 can cream of mushroom soup

salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in 9x13 pan; salt and pepper. Pour Cheez Whiz over the chicken. Mix the soups together and pour over the Cheez Whiz. Sprinkle with rice. Cover with foil and bake at 275 for 3 hours or until chicken is done.


For a while this summer, Jon and I started getting ants in our upstairs bathroom. The interior wall, which has a window, would be covered with ants. They wouldn't go anywhere else in the bathroom, other than that wall. I would use bug spray to kill them, and have to sweep up a mess everyday. Needless to say, it didn't take long for me to get very frustrated! The only thing we could figure out was that the window must have a small crack somewhere around the seal and they were getting in that way. I set out ant bait traps on the inside window sill and we sprayed really good all around the window. My husband even sprayed the outside wall. We still continued to get ants. Finally, one morning I happened to be upstairs and glanced over at the wall and saw where the ants were getting in. There was a small nail hole a few inches above the window, and I saw ants crawling out of that hole. The ants were living inside the wall and were getting into the room using that small nail hole.

If you ever have a small hole that needs patched, a quick solution until it can be done correctly, is to use toothpaste to fill in the hole.

That was a short-term solution, until the ants ate through the toothpaste. When my husband started to fill in the hole, he found that there was a larger hole behind the wall behind where the nail had been, about an inch in diameter. He first of all sprayed bug spray into the hole, then tore apart an ant bait trap to get the little pad filled with poison out, and stuffed that into the hole (then washed his hands thoroughly). He was then able to use putty to fill in the hole for a permanent solution.

Thankfully, our ant problem is solved!


From the time one of my nephews learned to walk until he started school, my sister had her hands full. Before he got tall enough to reach the door handle, my sister would lock the door so he couldn't go outside by himself. He quickly learned how to unlock it, by pulling a chair over and standing on it or by using a stick to push the lock up.

Their next door neighbors at that time had beautiful flower beds in their yard, and were very proud of them. One day, my nephew came in with a hand full of flowers and handed them to his mom. He said, “Here mom, I picked these for you.” He had been “visiting” the neighbor's yard and had helped himself to some flowers. He thought he was doing something nice for his mom and didn't realize he had done anything wrong. My sister and brother-in-law had to go over and explain to the neighbor what their son had done and apologize.

Another time, he spread peanut butter on a slice of bread, then put it in the VCR thinking he could make toast. My sister and brother-in-law were able to take the VCR apart and get the bread and peanut butter out and clean it.


Think before you speak! Once a word is spoken, it can never be retrieved!

We know that we wouldn't have a website ministry or a reason to write this weekly newsletter if it weren't for you taking time out of your busy schedule to read what we write. Each week we look at how many hits we've had on our website, to see if we still have people out there enjoying what we do. We never take you for granted, and want to say thanks from the bottom of our heart and let you know that we sincerely appreciate every one of you. We feel so honored that you would choose to read our newsletters each week. We pray that what we write will always bless and encourage you.

Thank you and may God bless you!

Loretta & Jon